The UK coatings industry faces a shortage of skilled staff, and an ageing workforce at a time when it is experiencing increasing demand for improved product performance and sustainable solutions.
As the UK’s leading independent paint manufacturer, HMG Paints is investing significantly in staff recruitment across the business, including in its research and development facilities and pro-actively working to attract experienced coatings formulators whilst also developing the next generation of staff to handle these challenges.
“People are at the heart of HMG and we’re always looking to create the best environment for our people to thrive” commented Steve Crossman, COO. “Be it the annual staff BBQ, 1pm Friday Finish or Christmas & New Year off, we always try to ensure we provide a great work life balance where our staff can develop professionally and personally.”
The nature and variety of HMG’s customer base & product portfolio means that there is a broad range of roles and opportunities within the company from apprentice and graduate opportunities in production and operations to roles for experienced chemists within the Laboratory. These roles include technical positions, such as paint technologists, research & development chemists and colour specialists, with one eye on a sustainable, net zero future. Believe it or not the company even has roles that require watching paint dry.
HMG’s portfolio of wet paint and aerosols cover virtually every type of surface imaginable across a whole host of industries including industrial, commercial vehicle, decorative, automotive, defence, toll manufacturing, wood finish and arts & craft and the company is now looking to further develop its staff to handle increased customer demand.
HMG Paints Colour Matching Bench. Credit: HMG Paints
Colourful Career Opportunities
One area HMG has really pushed the boundaries over the last few years is within its Advanced Colour Design department. The success of the department means that HMG are now looking to further expand its colour development and formulation team who are responsible for the companies library of over 90,000 colour formulations.
The Advanced Colour Design team work very closely with customers to develop bespoke colour options and solutions for customers in a variety of fields including decorative, automotive, model and hobby.
The team has worked on a number of high-profile projects including the Jaguar CX-17 (F-Pace), paint for Aston Marin Racing that was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show, a unique gold for angel statues at the Parisian Hotel and Casino in Macau, interior design palettes for leading decorative brands and the team even worked on the restoration of Emerson Fittipaldi’s iconic Lotus F1 car along with many other projects.
Training and Development
“HMG Paints has a long and proud history of developing our own technical team and we have some very exciting opportunities available as our business continues to grow” commented COO, Steve Crossman. “Having started myself as an apprentice in the laboratory I know first hand about the exciting challenges and opportunities that lie within HMG Paints. We have a great track record of nurturing our own talent in-house but also combining that with attracting experienced professionals within the coatings industry.”
After various roles in the laboratories including development chemist and Technical Director, as COO Steve is now keen for the next generation of talent to be developed within HMG. A key facet of this is utilising the knowledge and experience of existing lab staff and combining that with training organisations, courses and guidance provided by PRA, BCF and OCCA.
The coatings industry and HMG’s broader appeal can be further strengthened with links to academic institutions, illustrated recently by HMG’s participation with the Chemistry in Industry module conducted by OCCA at the University of Salford.
This route has helped HMG produce a number of home-grown coating chemists over the years including Darren James, who is a previous recipient of the British Coatings Federation Student of the Year award. This award is presented to the student who, in the opinion of the tutors of the Coatings Training Institute, has consistently demonstrated the highest level of understanding and achieved outstanding scores in examinations and practical work when completing their training modules.
“I was over the moon! Being up against people who had much more chemistry experience behind them, I didn’t think I was going to win. The help and guidance of my colleagues at HMG really helped with my development. I now work on some very innovative projects for our customers and it’s a very proud feeling when you see products you developed being used in the real world to solve customers’ problems.” said Darren.
Another success story of HMG’s investment in staff and training is, HR Assistant Melissa Strowbridge. Melissa has recently completed her Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Salford and has also talked at the Houses of Parliament about the importance of apprenticeships. Melissa added, “The benefits of doing the degree via an apprenticeship route was that I was able to apply my learning directly to the workplace. Throughout the programme I developed both professionally and personally and I can now bring these skills into the workplace. I have a fantastic grounding for the future thanks to the University of Salford and HMG.”
HMG Paints provides coatings across a spectrum of industries which creates great variety in the projects its technical team work on. Many of the projects are also innovative within the coatings industry. HMG were the first paint manufacturer to develop and commercialise Graphene containing coatings for a variety of industries, with the coatings today being used on Commercial Vehicles across the UK.
On the other end of the development spectrum, Graduate Apprentice Avese Umar has recently led the redevelopment of the company’s artist Oil Colours. The range originally developed in the 1940’s has been reformulated to combine traditional performance with modern and sustainable raw materials. The range is used by leading artists including Carl Melegari, Frank Auerbach and Jake Attree, with artworks that use the range hanging in galleries across the globe.
If you are interested in a career with HMG Paints Limited, please contact: John Fenton HMG Paints Human Resources Director [email protected]
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